How to fail your way to success
How many quotes about failure, mistakes, and generally screwing up have you heard over the years?
- You learn more from your mistakes than from your successes.
- It’s not a failure unless you give up.
- Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
Don’t you just hate the way they all make such good sense?
Sometimes I get lazy, and I don’t want to put out yet more effort to make my failures feel less huge. I’m already dealing with a failure, for cryin’ out loud, and now I have to do more work to get over it?
Like any growth-promoting activity, getting the upper hand on failure takes some doing.
Fail faster so you can succeed faster.
Fortunately, there are simple tools you can use to make failure seem a little less horrendous. The following will help you start letting go of your reluctance to fail:
- Practice in low-risk situations. Remember that you get to define what “low risk” looks like for you. If you would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than sing in public, DON’T head for the nearest karaoke bar.
- Instead of harshly criticizing your failures, nonjudgmentally evaluate them to see where you can improve the next time the situation arises.
- Act as if. This is one of my personal favorites, especially for situations which I’ve previously approached with negativity and expectations of failure. Acting as if you’ll succeed puts you in a more confident, creative, powerful mind set–and those are all very helpful traits to bring to a potentially risky situation.
- Let go of the outcome. This is one of my personal UNfavorites, mostly because I find it so challenging to actually do. If you focus on doing the best work possible and commit to a willingness to accept whatever outcome transpires, you’ll feel less stressed and more willing to take future risks. In fact, you’ll very often be pleasantly surprised how the very outcome you were willing not to insist on is the very one that occurs. (Wonder why I keep forgetting that last part? Maybe it’s because I still get caught up in protecting my ego…)
- Remind yourself that, no matter what the result, you’ve experienced success in every action in which you risk failure, simply because you chose to make the attempt.
So how do you handle failure? Is “failure” even in your vocabulary any more, or have you found a way to rename it so that it no longer stops you in your tracks? Whatever your success stories in handling it, the rest of us would love to hear about them (and maybe take some time off our own learning curves).
(By the way, thanks to Andy Foley for posting his painful image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in courage, goals, mindset, personal power and tagged confidence, personal power. Bookmark the permalink.